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The Act of Security 1704 (also referred to as the Act for the Security of the Kingdom) was a response by the Parliament of Scotland to the Parliament of England's Act of Settlement 1701. Queen Anne's last surviving child, William, Duke of Gloucester had died in 1700, and both parliaments needed to find a Protestant successor. The English Parliament had settled on Electress Sophia of Hanover, granddaughter of King James VI of Scotland, without consulting the Scottish Parliament.

The response of the Scottish Parliament was to pass a bill in 1703[1] requiring that, on the death of Queen Anne without issue, the three Estates of the Parliament were to appoint a Protestant successor from the descendants of the Scottish kings, but not the English successor unless various economic, political and religious conditions were met. The bill was refused Royal Assent by the Lord High Commissioner to the Parliament of Scotland.

The following year, 1704, the bill became an Act after the Scottish Parliament refused to raise taxes and sought to withdraw troops from the Duke of Marlborough's army in the War of the Spanish Succession unless Royal Assent was given.

The English Parliament retaliated with the 1705 Alien Act[2], threatening to cut trade and free movement between the two countries[1], unless negotiations opened leading either to the repeal of the Act of Security, or (as in the event happened) to the Act of Union in 1707. The end result was the Union of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain, approximately one hundred years after the Union of the Crowns.

Although deemed void by the Act of Union, the Parliament of Great Britain passed an Act (Repeal of Certain Scotch Acts 1707 6 Ann. c. 32) explicitly repealing this Act together with the Act anent Peace and War.


  1. ^ a b Lynch, Michael (1992). Scotland: A New History. Pimlico. pp. 311. ISBN 0712698930.  
  2. ^ "Westminster passes the 'Alien Act', 1705". Retrieved 2009-02-08.  

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Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Act of Security 1704
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Act of Security 1704.

Act for the Security of the Kingdom

OUR SOVEREIGN LADY The Queen Majestie with advice and consent of the Estates of Parliament Doth hereby Statute and Ordain That in the event of her Majesties death or of the death of any of her Majesties heirs or successors Kings or Queens of this Realm This present Parliament or any other Parliament that shall be then in being shall not be dissolved by the said death But shall and is hereby Required and Ordained if assembled to Sit and Act in manner after mentioned notwithstanding of the said death;

And if the said Parliament be under adjournment the time of the said death It shall notwithstanding meet precisely at Edinburgh the twentieth day after the said death excluding the day thereof whither the day of the said adjournment be sooner or later; And It is further Statute and Ordained That in case there shall be no Parliament in being at the time of the death foresaid then the Estates or members of the last preceding Parliament without regard to any Parliament that may be indicted but never met nor constituted shall meet at Edinburgh on the twentieth day after the said death the day thereof excluded; And further providing that in all or any of the said cases if there shall happen to be any vacancy of members by reason of death or promotion the Barons or Burghs concerned shall have power to choose and supply the said vacancy in the accustomed manner As Likeways that in all or any of the said cases no person who hath been, is or shall be then papist and hath not purged himself of popery by taking of the Formula set down in the third act of the Parliament One thousand and seven hundredth before the said death shall be capable to be a member of or to elect or be elected to the said Meeting of the Estates;

And the said Estates of Parliament appointed in case of the death foresaid to continue or meet as above are hereby Authorized and Impowered to act and administrate the Government in manner after mentioned That is That upon the death of her Majestie leaving heirs of her own body or failing thereof lawful successors designed or appointed by her Majestie and the Estates of Parliament or upon the death of any succeeding King or Queen leaving lawful heirs and successors as said is the said Estates of Parliament are Authorized and Impowered after having read to the said heir or successor the Claim of Right and desired them to accept the Government in the terms thereof to require of and administrate to the said heir or lawful successors by themselves or such as they shall commissionat the Coronation oath and that with all convenient speed not exceeding thirty days after the meeting of the said Estates if the said heir or successor be within the Isle of Britain Or if without the same not exceeding three months after the said Meeting in order to their Exercising the regal power conform to the Declaration of the Estates containing the Claim of Right;

And also in case of the said heir or successor their being under age which as to the exercise of the Government is hereby declared to be until their attaining to seventeen years complete to Provide for order and settle within the space of Sixty days after the said meeting a Regency for the Kingdom until the said heir or successor take the Coronation oath and do actually enter to the Exercise of the Government The Regent or Regents to be so appointed always having the Claim of Right read to him or them as above and he or they taking at his or their entry the Coronation oath and to continue for such space as the said Estates shall appoint After the entry of which heir or successor to the Exercise of the Government in manner foresaid or the settling the Regency in case of under age the said Estates of Parliament shall only continue to sit and act for the space of three months unless they be sooner lawfully adjourned or dissolved by the said heir or successor being entered or by the Regent or Regents lawfully settled as said is;

And further upon the said death of her Majestie without heirs of her body or a successor lawfully designed and appointed as above Or in the case of any other King or Queen thereafter succeeding and deceasing without lawful heir or successor the foresaid Estates of Parliament Convened or Meeting are hereby Authorized and Impowered to Nominate and Declare the Successor to the Imperial Crown of this Realm and to settle the succession thereof upon the heirs of the said successors body; The said successor and heirs of the successors body being always of the Royal line of Scotland and of the true protestant Religion Providing always that the same be not successor to the Crown of England unless that in this present Session of Parliament or any other Session of this or any ensuing Parliament during her Majesties reign there be such conditions of Government settled and enacted as may secure the honour and sovereignty of this Crown and Kingdom, the freedom frequency and power of Parliaments, the religion liberty and trade of the Nation from English or any foreigne influence With power to the said Meeting of Estates to add such further conditions of Government as they shall think necessary the same being consistent with and no ways derogatory from those which shall be enacted in this and any other Session of Parliament during her Majesties reign;

And farther, but prejudice of the Generality aforesaid, It is hereby specially statuted, enacted and declared, That it shall not be in the Power of the said meeting of the Estates, to name the Successor of the Crown of England, to be Successor to the Imperial Crown of this Realm; nor shall the same Person be capable in any event to be King or Queen of both Realms, unless a free Communication of Trade, the Freedom of Navigation, and the Liberty of the Plantations be fully agreed to, and established by the Parliament and Kingdom of England, to the Kingdom and Subjects of Scotland, or the said meeting of the Estates;

And it is hereby Declared That the said Meeting of Estates shall not have power to nominate the said Successor to the Crown of this Kingdom in the event above-expressed during the first Twenty days after their meeting Which twenty days being elapsed they shall proceed to make the said nomination with all convenient diligence And It is hereby expressly Provided and Declared That it shall be high treason for any person or persons to administrate the Coronation oath or be witnesses to the administration thereof but by the appointment of the Estates of Parliament in manner abovementioned or to own or acknowledge any person as King or Queen of this Realme in the event of her Majesties decease leaving heirs of her own body until they have Sworn the Coronation oath and accept on the terms of the Claim of Right and of such other conditions of government as shall be settled in this or any ensuing Parliament or added in the said Meeting of Estates and be thereupon Declared and Admitted as above Which Crime shall be irremissible without consent of Parliament And because in the foresaid interval of twenty days betwixt the said death and meeting of the Estates of Parliament in case there be no Parliament assembled for the time It is necessary that the administration of the Government be provided for in that interim Therefore It is hereby Declared That in case of the death of her Majestie or of any succeeding King or Queen of this Realm then and in all or either of the events aforementioned the foresaid Administration shall be in the hands of such of the members of the Estates of Parliament and such members of the Privy Council last in being as shall be at Edinburgh the time of the said death or shall come to Edinburgh before the said twentieth day and shall meet in the Parliament house there Which members of the Estates and the said members of the said Privy Council are hereby Impowered to Sit and Act in the said interim for preserving the peace and quiet of the Kingdom allenarly and till the said meeting of the Estates and no longer Thirty of the said members of the said Estates and members of the former Council being a quorum the plurality being always of the Estates who were not of the former Council;

And It is hereby further Statute and Ordained That all Commissions granted to the officers of State, Lords of Treasury and Exchequer, President of the Privy Council and all other civil Commissions that are now granted during pleasure shall by the decease of the King or Queen reigning become null and void Excepting Sheriff’s, Stewards and Justices of Peace in their respective bounds And for a further Security of the Kingdom Her Majestie with advice and consent foresaid Statutes and Enacts That the whole Protestant Heritors and all the Burghs within the same shall forthwith provide themselves with firearms for all the fencible men who are Protestants within their respective bounds and those of the bore proportioned to a bullet of fourteen drop weigh running And the said Heritors and Burghs are hereby Impowrred and Ordained to Discipline and Exercise their said fencible men once in the month at least The said heritor always taking the oath of allegiance and assurance As also such heritor or fencible men who are suspect of popery are hereby appointed when required to take the Formula mentioned in the Act of Parliament one thousand seven hundredth and that before the Sheriff of the shire or any other Judge within whose Jurisdiction they reside;

And It is hereby likewise Statute and Ordained That upon the decease of Her Majestie or any of her heirs or successors the Commissions of all officers of the standing forces above a Captain shall immediately become null and void And that the Captains of the several troops and Companies and Lieutenants of those who shall have belonged to the Colonels, Lieutenants Colonels and Majors do continue to command their respective troops and companies without extending their command any further under pain of treason till further orders from the said Estates or Committee in the interval And further Her Majestie with advice and consent foresaid Requires and Ordains all officers and soldiers who shall happen to be on daily pay at the time of the decease foresaid to Continue in or immediately repair to their respective garrisons and quarters and not to remove from thence but by order of the said Estates or Committee abovementioned upon pain of treason And Lastly Her Majestie with advice and consent foresaid Rescinds Casses and Annuls the Seventeenth Act of the Session of Parliament one thousand six hundredth and ninety six years and all other Laws and Acts of Parliament in so far as they are inconsistent with this Act

PD-icon.svg This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.


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